Competitors arrive en masse for legendary dinghy champion of champions event

Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex (6 October 2023): A quiet, sultry spell of warm, dry windless weather over the last week or so, gave way to promising racing conditions this morning with winds reaching 22kts in the gusts for the opening day of the 62nd Endeavour Trophy dinghy champion of champions invitational event writes Sue Pelling.

Over the next two days (Saturday and Sunday) a total of 30 national champions, representing a huge array of national and international classes, will battle it out on the tidal reaches of River Crouch/Roach in a series of eight back-to-back races in identical RS200 one designs to establish the 2023 best-of-the-best dinghy champion.

The calibre of the fleet is, as always at this event, exceptionally high which means racing will be immensely competitive for the one-discard series which starts at 1030 tomorrow. In the meantime, in preparation for the tough challenge ahead, competitors took part in today’s opening training session. 

Headed by Steve Irish – one of the UK’s leading dinghy racing coaches – teams had a chance to not only listen to some well-seasoned advice but also acquaint themselves with their boats, and fine tune their rigs (brand-new Hyde jibs and spinnakers supplied courtesy of RS Sailing).

As well as Irish’s rigging/tuning in the morning, competitors – particularly Endeavour first-timers – embraced the on-the water session this afternoon in a good, lively breeze before heading back to shore for a video de-brief, and Barbuck-sponsored pasta meal in the evening.

Even for former Endeavour sailors/winners, including the likes of Nick Craig (six-times Endeavour winner), Toby Lewis (nine-time Endeavour winner), Steve Tylecote, and Christian Birrell, who know the event and vagaries of sailing on tidal River Crouch well, the training day is always useful.

As Craig pointed out this morning, however many times you’ve raced here, it’s worthwhile exploiting the opportunity. His own piece of advice particularly aimed at first-timers to the event was crystal clear: “Tide, tide, tide. This event is not really a boatspeed test thankfully, it is about tide and tactics, so my advice is to get a handle on the tide, the time it changes, and get an idea of what the tide’s doing on the startline and on the marks because it rips big time.”

Chatting to some of the younger members of the fleet, including 13-year-old Fernhurst Books-sponsored Jessica Powell (Topper) it’s a dream come true to be sailing against such a high calibre fleet. She won the Topper nationals from a fleet of just under 100 boats, finished fourth at the world championship this year, and won the Feva nationals in 2021, so she is no stranger to stiff competition, but she is looking forward to lining up against world class and Olympic sailors: “I am just really excited to have such a great opportunity to be able learn from different people who have a lot more experience than myself.”

Commenting on her Fernhurst sponsorship, Powells added: “I’m very fortunate because I have a constant supply of top dinghy racing books to learn from. I am also involved with the photography for Fernhurst’s forthcoming Topper sailing book, so that’s exciting too.” 

Fellow female competitor Tatiana Hazlewood (16), who is crewing for Leo Yates (ILCA4) but who came second at the ILCA4 national championship in her own right said she is so pleased to have made it to the Endeavour Trophy: “I am very excited to be here and to have the opportunity to race against the best. I have sailed in Burnham before so I know a little of what to expect regarding tides but it will be a fantastic experience.”

Edwin Buckley, event director and race officer said the stage is set for yet more top-class racing: “The fact we were oversubscribed this year with over 40 applicants for the 30 places available reflects just how important the event is for racing classes. Although it’s an invitation event it works on a first-come-first-served basis so, it pays to be smart ‘off the start line’ in terms of entering. Regarding startlines, tomorrow’s racing commences at 1030 sharp and we’re hoping to complete as many of the eight races as possible. The wind looks good tomorrow but looks to be dropping off on Sunday, which is a perfect scenario because the mixed conditions gives everyone a chance to shine.”

 

Endeavour Entrants 2023

·      505 – Sam Pascoe and Pascoe

·      WASZP5 – Sam Whaley and Larissa Connabeer

·      RS Vareo – Michelle Collier-Brooks and James Bennett

·      D One – Nick Craig and Toby Lewis

·      29er – Charlie Gran and Sam Webb

·      Lark – Ed Bradburn and Holly Evans

·      RS Aero 6 – Ben Whaley and Lorna Glen

·      Topper – Jessica Powell and Sam Grayton

·      RS 400 – Edd Whitehead and Karen Oldale

·      Byte – Duncan and Kirsten Glen

·      GP14 – Matt Mee and Chris Martin

·      2000 – Simon and Katie Horsfield

·      RS Aero 5 Tom and Tristan Ahlheid

·      National 12 – Tom and Isobel Stewart

·      Firefly – William Pank and Steve Carver

·      Cadet – Samantha and Bridgitte Nee

·      OK – Andy Davis and Alex Warren

·      ILCA 4 – Leo Yates and Tatiana Hazelwood

·      RS200 – Arran Holman and James Crossley

·      Optimist – Dylan Creighton and Joe Jones

·      RS Aero 7 – Tim Hire and Alice Lucy

·      Scorpion – Alan Krayling and Simon Forbes

·      RS Feva – Ben Greenhaigh and Tom Sinfield

·      ILCA 7 – James Foster and Jowe Walters

·      RS800 – Luke and Emma McEwen

·      Blaze – Ben Harden and Lucy Ellery

·      Merlin Rocket – Christian Birrell and Luke Patience

·      4000 – Steve and Ben Tylecote

·      National 18 – Robert Gullan and Libby Watkins

·      Solo – Ben Flower and Thomas Semmens

 

Young members of the Endeavour fleet enjoy a chat with Keith Musto (Olympic silver medalist and winner of the first ever Endeavour Trophy which took place in 1961 when he was crewing for Peter Bateman representing the International Cadet class). From Left: Sam Grayton, Jessica Powell, Tatiana Hazelwood, Leo Yates, Keith Musto, Joe Jones and Dylan Creighton – photo Sue Pelling

Young members of the Endeavour fleet enjoy a chat with Keith Musto (Olympic silver medalist and winner of the first ever Endeavour Trophy which took place in 1961 when he was crewing for Peter Bateman representing the International Cadet class). From Left: Sam Grayton, Jessica Powell, Tatiana Hazelwood, Leo Yates, Keith Musto, Joe Jones and Dylan Creighton – photo Sue Pelling

 

Steve Irish – Endeavour coach – offers some timely advice on his walk around the dinghy park before the afternoon’s on-the-water training session – photo Sue Pelling

Dinghy park preparations ready for tomorrow’s early morning start – photo Sue Pelling

An afternoon of training in fresh conditions on the River Crouch, in preparation for tomorrow’s opening races – photo Roger Mant

An afternoon of training in fresh conditions on the River Crouch, in preparation for tomorrow’s opening races – photo Roger Mant

William Pank and Steve Carver (Firefly) enjoying the lively condition on the training course – photo Roger Mant

William Pank and Steve Carver (Firefly) enjoying the lively condition on the training course – photo Roger Mant 

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